I have limited experience with sub-$100 heli's and airplanes. I've been contemplating about getting into quads for quite some time. I've been so happy with all of my Traxxas vehicles that I decided why not spend $85 and give the QR-1 a try. I feel pretty confident that everyone's initial impression of it will be "That thing is small!" Despite its size, it's a pretty impressive quad in my opinion.
With that said, my QR-1 arrived this morning. I decided while the lipo's were charging that I would familiarize myself with the instruction manual. I highly recommend everyone does this as well. The elevator, rudder, and aileron trim's are pre-calibrated from the factory so you may see not all of them are zero. Mine required a bit of adjustment in order to dial the drifting out. My throttle trim was set at -8 from the factory... I have not adjusted that yet as I'm still getting used to things. I also recommend resetting the electronic stabilization if you notice any drifting (video listed below). My QR-1 seems to take a while to reset... I have to move the aileron stick back and forth for about 20-30 seconds until it resets.
I started out in 'normal' mode and the quad copter was very easy to fly. Getting used to the controls is the biggest hurdle. And keep in mind your controls flip as the quad goes from facing away to facing towards you just like with any other RC device. If you get too ahead of yourself, simply release the aileron stick and it will self-level itself out. For my initial flights I kept it under 10ft of flying heights. That way if it had to crash, it would fall on the soft grass which seems to provide a decent cushion for the quad's landing. Also, if it lands upside down, lay it back on level ground for several seconds so that the stabilization system recalibrates itself.
With that said, the quad is easy to fly in my opinion. After flying it through 2 charged lipo's (8-10min flight time) in normal/expert mode, I decided to test out the aerobatics. Long story short, I'm doing barrel rolls as well as back/front flips with ease now after practicing with it for maybe 15-20 minutes. The quad also has a decent speed to it. Flying it at full throttle in a circle and doing banked turns is a lot of fun after you get used to controlling it. For the money you really can't beat it. The qr1 is definitely hobby grade and seems able to withstand crashes quite well provided you are on soft grass. I'm very impressed with it. Hats off to traxxas for a job well done. Now let's hope they start making a larger scale model (24") in the near future.
Shooting a video of the QR1 is a bit difficult as it is very small. Since nobody has taken any video's other than traxxas, I figured I'd try to get something so you guys could see what this little thing can do. I already know this video is not the best in the world... it was about to get dark out and you can't clearly see the quad due to lighting and its size. But you'll get an idea of what it is capable of. Hopefully in the next few days I'll have some better video's in an open field with better day light.
Flying, backflip and barrel roll:
How to Flip and roll
Motor arm adjustment - will be needed if you have a hard impact and cannot